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Knicks brass mulls trade; Mike Woodson wants playoff urgency

Knicks head coach Mike Woodson directs forward/center Andrea

Knicks head coach Mike Woodson directs forward/center Andrea Bargnani, guard J.R. Smith, guard Tim Hardaway Jr. and forward Carmelo Anthony with under two minutes left in action against the Memphis Grizzlies in the second half of a game at Madison Square Garden on Dec. 21, 2013. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

MEMPHIS, Tenn. - The Knicks reconvened Monday for their first practice after the All-Star break. For some players, it could have been one of their last days with the team.

The Knicks are expected to be active in talks before Thursday's trade deadline as they try to upgrade at point guard. Kyle Lowry, Jeff Teague and Andre Miller have been on their radar, as has Rajon Rondo. But the Celtics haven't shown that they will move their best player.

The Knicks, who face the Grizzlies Tuesday night, are 20-32 and 21/2 games out of the last playoff spot. Mike Woodson wouldn't say he hopes his bosses do something to bolster the team, but he couldn't rule it out.

"I'm not going to sit here and jump on our team," Woodson said before the Knicks practiced at Rhodes College. "I came into this season thinking I can win with this team and I still feel that way, based on all the injuries that we've had and the ups and downs we've had. For the most part, I like everybody on our ballclub.

"At the end of the day, Steve [Mills, the Knicks' president] and I will sit down along with Mr. [James] Dolan and guys who make the decisions, and if they think there's something worthy, then I'm sure we'll do something. If not, we'll sit tight with what we got and try to figure it out from there."

Raymond Felton, Iman Shumpert, Beno Udrih and Metta World Peace are the players whom the Knicks primarily are offering in deals. It's possible that just about everyone other than Carmelo Anthony and Tim Hardaway Jr. is available.

The Knicks would like to make a playoff run this season and maintain the cap space they're set to have in the summer of 2015, when Rondo, Kevin Love and LaMarcus Aldridge could head that free-agent class.

If the Knicks acquired Teague from Atlanta, that would take a chunk out of that money because he has three more years and $24 million owed to him. Lowry will be a free agent this summer, but the Atlantic Division-leading Raptors might choose to keep him.

While management tries to work on the roster, Woodson's focus is on getting the Knicks into the postseason. Questions about his job security continue, but Woodson is worried about getting the Knicks to return to action with a sense of urgency.

"I'd like to think everybody knows what is at stake here," he said. "We got 30 games left, we're 21/2 out of the eight spot. The seven and six spot is dangling out there as well. There's still a lot of basketball, but there's not a lot of room for error for our team."

Woodson doesn't want to think about being on the outside looking in when the playoffs start. "I didn't come in and none of these players came into this season thinking that we wouldn't be in the hunt, fighting for and jockeying for spots up at the top," he said. "Right now we're jockeying to get into the playoffs. It would be tough if we're sitting here in April and we're not in the playoffs -- that's tough."

Notes & quotes: The Knicks report that Shumpert is questionable with a left hip flexor strain suffered against Sacramento in the last game before the break . . . J.R. Smith, who missed that game because the protective mask covering his fractured cheekbone was uncomfortable, said he will play Tuesday night.

The Dolan family owns controlling interests in the Knicks, Madison Square Garden and Cablevision. Cablevision owns Newsday.


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